2 LGBTQ businesses add new claims to their legal challenge against Liquor Commission

Attorneys further detail the allegations, accusing the agency of harassment and discrimination throughout the pandemic.
Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 10:38 PM HST|Updated: Jun. 15, 2022 at 11:24 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Two businesses that filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Honolulu Liquor Commission have added new claims to their legal challenge.

They accuse the agency of hiring people who shouldn’t be in positions of public oversight.

“The new things that we put in this week is adding a charge of negligent hiring, training, supervision, and retention against the Liquor Commission,” said Robbie Baldwin, a plaintiff and owner of Scarlet Honolulu.

Attorneys for the businesses claim the last four administrators of the Liquor Commission resigned amid controversy and inspectors with a history of violence and physical intimidation were hired in their place.

Baldwin says the Liquor Commission needs to step up and address the allegations.

“It appears they just don’t care and it’s just another day at the Liquor Commission,” Baldwin said.

Walter Enriquez, another plaintiff and founder of Gay Island Guide, said the agency has no transparency.

He also alleged that despite being entirely vaccinated venues, several inspectors targeted LGBTQ businesses on multiple occasions with excessive visits and unjustified shutdowns.

Both plaintiffs say the agencies failed to investigate the harassment that targets the LGBTQ+ community.

Hawaii News Now has repeatedly reached out to the Liquor Commission and the city for reaction to the allegations. A city spokesperson said their attorneys couldn’t comment because of pending litigation.

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